All exit polls projected a clear win for the AAP in the Delhi assembly elections Saturday, sending into raptures the party led by Arvind Kejriwal while a pall of gloom descended on the rival BJP camp where senior leaders went into a huddle to take stock late at night. The Congress was headed for a rout with three of six exit polls ruling out a single seat for the party in the 70-member House.
The projections were made after Delhi saw a record turnout of an estimated 67 per cent at the end of a bitter contest between the AAP and BJP in which charges flew thick and fast. His party clearly rattled by a resurgent AAP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his final appeal for votes, had trashed pre-poll surveys saying a “conspiracy” had been hatched by “bazaaru log” (people who can be bought) to “mislead the country” with such surveys.
The News 24-Today’s Chanakya exit poll gave a landslide to the AAP — 48 seats as against 22 of the BJP, none to the Congress.
Axis/APM-India News gave the AAP as many as 53 seats, the BJP 17 and the Congress 2.
News Nation projected 39-43 for AAP, 25-29 for BJP, 1-3 for Congress and 0-1 for Others.
The India Today-Cicero exit poll gave the AAP 38-46, the BJP 19-27 and the Congress 3-5.
The India TV-C Voter exit poll projected 35-43 for AAP, 25-33 for BJP and 0-2 for Congress.
The ABP-Nielsen poll said the AAP would get 43 seats, the BJP 26 and Congress 1.
As the exit poll results came in, AAP sources said the projections underlined that their party had the backing of “not just the low-income class” but also the middle and upper class which the BJP relied on heavily. In Muslim-dominated areas, where the voter turnout was relatively low until 3 pm, the BJP was nowhere in the picture and AAP candidates were in direct fights with Congress opponents.
Although the BJP has maintained that the outcome will not be a reflection on the performance of the eight-month-old Narendra Modi government or his leadership, a drubbing for the BJP will certainly raise many uncomfortable questions. Besides, it will turn the spotlight on election management tactics of the Modi-Amit Shah team which has been immensely successful so far.
The strategy of inducting Kiran Bedi and projecting her as the chief ministerial candidate upset many of the satraps in the Delhi BJP and a defeat may deepen the divide. The projections indicate that the BJP has lost ground since the Lok Sabha elections. It won all seven parliamentary seats in with AAP finishing second.
As far as the Congress is concerned, the exit poll predictions only spell more trouble.The party had lost all four assembly elections since the Lok Sabha polls. The projected result will mean the party has lost more ground. It had won eight seats in the 2013 assembly elections.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar said: “We are happy to announce that this election has been unprecedented in terms of voter turnout as the poll percentage has crossed 67.08. The percentage is expected to go up a little further.”
The voter turnout is 1.22 per cent higher than 65.86 per cent polling in the 2013 assembly polls. The polling percentage was 65.07 in the Lok Sabha polls in April 2014.